Victoria has a legalisation/licensing system of sex work laws. These laws require brothel owners to be licensed with Consumer Affairs Victoria, as well as to abide by further regulations. Sex work licensing does not treat brothels like other businesses. The regulation of brothel owners illustrates this. Brothel owners:
- must be licensed on a publicly available register
- must pay high licensing fees
- must not be bankrupt
- must not have been convicted of a disqualifying offence
- must undergo criminal history record checks
- cannot own more than one brothel
- cannot operate a brothel with more than six rooms available for sexual services
- cannot allow alcohol to be served on the premises
Since 2005 there has been a reduction in the number of licensed owners.
Notes on Data
- The figures above do NOT reflect the number of licensed brothels and escort agencies in Victoria. There may be more than one owner per brothel/escort agency. In 2019, there were 89 licensed brothels and 22 licensed escort agencies.
- Consumer Affairs Victoria refers to licensed brothel/escort agency owners as ‘sex industry business owners (licensees)’
- The graph above excludes unlicensed brothel and unlicensed escort agency owners
Number of Licensed Brothels Per Local Government Area
The decline in the number of licensed brothel owners mirrors the decline in the number of licensed brothels as a result of increased competition from unlicensed (illegal) brothels (massage parlours). For further explanation, see our page Why is the Number of Legal Brothels Decreasing?
© Sex Work Law Reform Victoria 2020
Last Updated: 10 March 2020